Rothney Astrophysical Observatory

Expanding our knowledge of the universe.

Proudly contributing to the Skynet Robotic Telescope Network

The University of Calgary's Rothney Astrophysical Observatory (RAO) is much more than a spot on a picturesque hill in the Foothills of the Rockies - it is a place where Teaching and Research connects with Public Education and Community Engagement.  Where else can school children, teachers, community groups, and anyone else with a curiosity for STEM become immersed in an astronomical research facility and engage with astrophysicists-in-training and seasoned scientists?  This is our mission, and it happens both under the stars and under the Sun.

The Rothney Astrophysical Observatory is not offering in person programming until 2021. We will be opening in stages according to direction from the University of Calgary. We miss seeing all of you under the stars. We will be running virtual observing events. Please watch our website for details and updates.



School Programs

We are taking bookings for Fall 2020 and Winter 2021. Book your class in for a day or evening of experiential learning opportunity at a working science facility.



The RAO is committed to fostering scientific literacy and cultivating relationships between the public and researchers through community outreach. There are many opportunities to get involved either with our programs or through our community partners.



The Rothney Astrophysical Observatory is operated by the Department of Physics and Astronomy and is the department's principal teaching and research facility for observational astrophysics. Want to learn more about how the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory contributes to the science of Astrophysics?

RAO-Live! Virtual Observing Event

Two students using a telescope.

Where to find us

Rothney Astrophysical Observatory

210 Avenue W, Hwy 22 S
Foothills No. 31, AB T0L 1W0

(403) 931-2366

GPS coordinates  
Lat 50.868039 deg N,  Long 114.291142 deg W

Directions and Current Weather

The Rothney Astrophysical Observatory (RAO) is located near Priddis, Alberta, about 30 kilometres southwest of the Calgary city centre. It is less than an hour drive from the University of Calgary main campus.

  • Take Macleod Trail south.
  • Go west on Highway 22X, towards the mountains.
  • Continue past Spruce Meadows, past 37 Street, 69 Street and 83 Street to a major intersection where Highway 22X meets Highway 22 (this intersection is illuminated after dark).
  • Turn left toward Millarville (heading south).
  • About 1.2 kilometres south along Highway 22, look for the RAO sign on the west side of the highway. Then in 30 metres, look to the east side of the highway for the large RAO sign and gate. Drive through the gate and follow the gravel road up the hill to the parking area.

Current weather Conditions

Click image to open Google Maps.

Showcasing Indigenous Skylore